updated - April 2, 2020 Thursday EDT
Conrad Hilton, founder of Hilton Hotels, is attributed with the following quote: "Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit." Whether you're just starting out or you've been running a franchise for awhile, you're probably aware of the obstacles you face when growing your franchise. Your daily life becomes an exercise in endurance and learning from your mistakes. The good news is that, regardless of the specific type of business you run, there are four key strategies to help you succeed. Live by these guidelines, and you'll notice the difference.
One of the most daunting aspects of running a franchise - namely, that you not only represent yourself but also a nation-wide brand - can actually work in your favor. It's all a matter of perspective. What can initially weigh heavily on you can give you freedom as well. For example, instead of feeling like negative customer interactions are a personal attack against you and your hard work, you can relax in these situations because your perspective is adjusted. You can become the ally of the customer who is venting about his or her experience with the brand, and the customer will appreciate that you are working with them for a happy resolution.
While it can be tempting for business owners in the customer service sector to sit back in the office and "let the employees handle it," this style of management may not be the most efficient for your franchise. When you step out into the front lines, you send your employees the message that you're on this journey together. Having a rapport of this nature with your staff will help you with the strategy that we're covering next: setting performance standards for them and holding them accountable. And you'll also learn to perform the duties of more positions this way, which can help you when hiring and training employees, and during emergencies when you may need to step in and help out.
If you want to be an award-winning franchise owner, you'll want to steer your employees towards performance-driven results. Examine the metrics on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, and calmly review these standards with your employees. It may sound like a cliche', but a staff member cannot improve their performance if they don't know which aspects of their performance are in need of improvement. Part of your job is to provide consistent, gentle reminders to your staff to meet your expectations as the business owner. Aspects to pay special attention to may include the more basic expectations such as being on time and hitting the correct steps in customer interactions; your expectations may also cover sales and productivity performance as well.
It's not just your employees who must adhere to the standards provided to them in writing. You, too, must meet the expectations of those further up the chain. There's another famous quote about franchises, and this one is attributed to Jim Evanger: "With a franchise, you have someone who cares as much about the business name and image as you do because they own it." Prioritize these standards. Work to meet them and, if necessary, begin early in the day, before you become bogged down with the responsibilities of being open for business.
As you can see, the core strategies of any successful business apply to a franchise. Remember this key point: Don't let the stresses of your obligations prevent your interactions - both with staff and with customers - from being authentic and pleasant. Your bottom line will thank you for it, and maybe so will the custom engraved plaques on the wall of your business.
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